Anti-austerity strikes set to sweep southern Europe
MADRID (REUTERS) - Spanish and Portuguese workers will stage the first coordinated general strike across the Iberian Peninsula on Wednesday, shutting transport, grounding flights and closing schools to protest against spending cuts and tax hikes.
Unions in Greece and Italy also planned work stoppages and demonstrations on a "European Day of Action and Solidarity"against austerity policies, which labour leaders blame for prolonging and worsening the continent's economic crisis.
The international coordination shows "we are looking at a historic moment in the European Union movement," said Fernando Toxo, head of Spain's biggest union, Comisiones Obreras.
Spain, where one in four workers is unemployed, is now teetering on the brink of calling for a European bailout, with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy trying to put off a rescue that could require even more EU-mandated budget cuts.